By Bill Greenwood
Archive for the ‘Recent Blog Posts’ Category
Every month, we at Jaybird promote the NY Tech Meetup’s (NYTM) tech demo nights at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. To support this, we prepare a one-sheet for our press guests with contact information for every demoing company along with a one-sentence description describing their product. The companies provide their own descriptions for this sheet, and most of them do an excellent job. However, some people find it very challenging to distill their startup into one sentence, and so we reached out to several journalists who have attended past NYTMs to get their tips on how to craft a concise company description that catches the eye and scores some coverage.
1.) What do you provide and who do you serve?
by Laurie Jakobsen
I caught up on a big pile of magazine reading while I was traveling to and from NARM’s Music Biz 2012 event. A few different stories caught my eye in particular, and I think they all highlight the dangers of communication disconnects: between a company’s stated values and the actions it rewards, and also between what a business thinks a customer wants and what they actually do. As a result, bad actors get the proverbial carrot, and potential customers get the stick.
By Bill Greenwood
Before I came into the PR world, I worked in the journalism industry for more than five years. I started off as an editor at my college newspaper, became a staff writer at a local newspaper after graduation, and ended up as an assistant editor at an information-technology trade magazine before heading to grad school and winding up here at Jaybird Communications. When it came time to write my first press release, I was excited to try out a new style of writing that didn’t have quite as many rules as what I had done previously. Of course, I came to discover that PR writing doesn’t necessarily have fewer rules, just different ones. But I also learned that applying some of those old journalism standards could actually improve the quality of my releases considerably. So, here are some simple tips from the journalism world that you can use to improve your own writing.
Strive for “Objective” Reasoning
By Bill Greenwood
I grew up in South Jersey, about 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia, which means the Philadelphia Eagles have been a big part of my life. I remember the drastic lows of the Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes eras and the soaring heights of Andy Reid’s tenure as head coach, including the team’s 2004 trip to the Super Bowl, our first since 1980. We lost to the New England Patriots, but the atmosphere surrounding that loss was an upbeat one. After three straight losses in the penultimate game of the NFL playoffs, we had finally reached the big showdown, and it would only be a matter of time before we won it.
If there’s anything good about an event like Hurricane Irene, it’s a reminder of what a real life-threatening crisis is compared to the day-to-day events that, while significant, probably don’t require full-scale emergency response. It also brings to light any changes we need to make to our preparedness (like I should have had extra cat litter on hand for my feline go-bag and a few more flashlights).
I just checked out the “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” exhibit at NYC’s Museum of the Moving Image (which I highly recommend – it’s there through January 16, 2012). As part of the first Sesame Street generation, the Muppets are near and dear to me. So first I had to gush over the actual Kermit, Bert and Ernie, and Miss Piggy puppets. But I finally I was able to tear my attention to the actual exhibit on the walls, and was fascinated by Henson’s process – Kermit, Big Bird, Ernie, Rowlf, and even Bunsen and Beaker had lived as sketches and in other characters and ideas for many, many years before they became the beloved characters we know today.
This has had me mulling over the nature of creativity and success. First, this reminded me of Thomas Edison’s quote, “Genius is one percent inspiration, 99% perspiration.” But it also occurred to me that adaptability is such a critical function. Henson adapted his ideas for characters over time, from adult-oriented entertainment to advertising spots to live performance. He did not seem too tightly wedded to one notion of how these characters could express themselves. Further, over time, he was willing to hand over his preliminary sketches to others to build into muppets, and let someone else bring them to life.
In today’s New York Times coverage of the Julie Taymor/Spiderman debacle, my former Tufts Daily cohort Patrick Healy notes, “Ms. Taymor did not include a comment in the press release that the producers issued — a sign of the discord among them.”
Now, of course the story goes into much more detail from there. But this non-quote in the press release issue was also picked up by Pat Kiernan of local news channel NY1 in his “In the Papers” segment. This detail – no quote from the deposed director – was interpreted to contradict the careful messaging in the initial communications about Taymor’s ongoing involvement.
I’m fascinated by organizations’ “non-verbal” communication, such as what you see when you enter the building, employee events and such, but also those little rituals, the things that are “just what you do” on a regular basis that can tell you more about the organization than any corporate values statement.
I met with a friend of mine this week who just started a new job that she’s really excited about. There’s the easier commute, challenging new responsibilities and friendly coworkers. And then there’s lunch.
There is a designated lunch hour, and if people stay in the office, they are not allowed to eat at their desks. They have a nice kitchen with a communal dining area. The TV goes on to a game show. When my friend started eating out of her plastic container, a co-worker insisted she use a plate (and there’s a dishwasher). And the staff gets a weekly “surprise” lunch purchased by the company.